I’m geeked to be working in San Francisco this summer. They say its California’s version of New York, so I feel right at home in another city I can’t afford to live in. Since it’s my first time in this bucket list city – I already gotcha, Minneapolis – I intend to make the most it. My first official tourist act was strolling through The Mission. Well, actually, the first Cali thing I did was go shopping at Ross. I bought an $8 dress that probably won’t last the week, but it’s pretty and it made me happy.
Like New York City, San Francisco has a robust public transportation system. I acquired a ClipperCard (the equivalent of NYC’s MetroCard) and between friends, Google maps, and Moovit I navigated the Muni and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) like a native. I was pleased to discover that The Mission is home to Good Vibrations, one of the best sex shops in the country. Big, beautiful, well lit, well stocked. I went in to… um… conduct field research. Yeah, that’s it: Field Research.
Although I didn’t put it to the test – yet – I smiled when I saw Arinell New York-Style Pizza on Valencia. Further down the block I lucked into a beautiful black duster at a cute boutique called Therapy. (Shutup. I know I have a kajillion black jackets but I needed an extra layer of warmth against the San Francisco Summer chill.)
Dogs totally rule in San Francisco but it’s not just a dog city. It’s a Cocker Spaniel city. Are they the city’s official mascot? Seeing those sad furry faces and long curly ears both uplifted me and broke my heart. My Little Guy is over a year gone now but I think he would’ve loved it here.
On my stroll down Valencia I toyed with stopping in one of the many trendy restaurants but there were way too many tourists. (I know, I know. Technically I’m a tourist too, but I don’t want to eat with them en masse.) I ended up dining at Taco Loco on 24th Street. The line was out the door with an eclectic mix of people so I knew I was in the right place. Cheap. Tasty. Score! A late lunch of two crispy tacos (one steak, one chorizo) and I was set.
While there are similarities between New York and San Francisco the latter has it’s own unique flavor that I’ll call fogaliscious. San Fran is foggy. Like Stephen King-Mist foggy. My first few days of staring at that thick white blanket I wasn’t sure if there was a rainstorm, a fire, or a papal election.
And it’s chilly. I never read Sister Souljah’s book, The Coldest Winter Ever, but it must’ve been about summer in San Francisco. It’s June. It’s mid-50’s. I’m wearing a coat. In the mornings and late evenings I’ve also donned a hat, scarf, and gloves. Apparently the Chicago Hawk spends its summers in San Francisco.
I’d been told that California has a lot of homeless people but I didn’t realize that in San Francisco they’d all be camped out at the BART station. In NYC, Homelessness is no longer a tourist attraction since its broken windows policy has virtually criminalized it.
And apparently the Bay Area po-po take jay walking very seriously; as in give you a ticket for doing it serious. I wasn’t sure if my NYC driver’s license would be my get out of jail free card or earn me a courtesy chokehold, so I crossed at the green and not in between. The only time I want to do in Cali is on the tourist line for Alcatraz. Where will I be touristing next? I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to bundle up.